The Worldwide Film Noir Tradition - Classical British Film Noir

by skobic | created - 11 Jun 2014 | updated - 12 Jun 2014 | Public

From Selby's introduction: "The most extensive prior documentation of British noirs appears in British Film Noir Guide by Michael F. Keaney (McFarland, 2008). My research was independent of Keaney's, and there is a difference of over 100 films between his listings and mine."

30 Brit Noir Masterworks are labelled with 'MASTERWORK'.

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1. Account Rendered (1957)

59 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Police find that everyone had a motive for the murder of a wealthy woman.

Director: Peter Graham Scott | Stars: Griffith Jones, Ursula Howells, Honor Blackman, Ewen Solon

Votes: 127

2. Across the Bridge (1957)

103 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A wealthy businessman attempts to run to Mexico to escape capture for embezzlement. On the way, he switches identities for a visa but that only complicates matters.

Director: Ken Annakin | Stars: Rod Steiger, David Knight, Bernard Lee, Noel Willman

Votes: 562

3. Act of Murder (1964)

62 min | Crime, Drama

A dangerous psychological game plays out between a man and the husband of the lover who spurned him.

Director: Alan Bridges | Stars: John Carson, Anthony Bate, Justine Lord, Duncan Lewis

Votes: 33

4. Fortune in Diamonds (1951)

Approved | 74 min | Adventure

As the Boer War ends a South African soldier hides a cache of diamonds he finds on a body. He returns to the town he left three years earlier where his girl has married a disgraced English ... See full summary »

Director: David MacDonald | Stars: Dennis Price, Jack Hawkins, Siobhan McKenna, Peter Hammond

Votes: 92

5. Alias John Preston (1955)

Approved | 71 min | Horror, Mystery, Romance

Wealthy John Preston arrives in small town Deanbridge. He invests in local businesses and gets involved in community affairs. Eventually, he meets a local belle, Sally, and wins her from ... See full summary »

Director: David MacDonald | Stars: Betta St. John, Alexander Knox, Christopher Lee, Sandra Dorne

Votes: 154

6. All Night Long (1962)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Music

This movie, based on William Shakespeare's Othello, is neatly positioned as a vehicle to showcase some of the best jazz musicians of the period, including Dave Brubeck and Charles Mingus.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Patrick McGoohan, Keith Michell, Betsy Blair, Paul Harris

Votes: 869

7. Another Man's Poison (1951)

90 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A mystery writer becomes involved in a tangled web of murderous deception not unlike the plots of her novels.

Director: Irving Rapper | Stars: Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, Emlyn Williams, Anthony Steel

Votes: 1,958

8. Appointment with Crime (1946)

Unrated | 90 min | Crime, Drama

An ex-con, released after imprisonment for a jewel theft, swears vengeance on his former accomplices and devises an intricate plan to steal their fortune.

Director: John Harlow | Stars: William Hartnell, Raymond Lovell, Robert Beatty, Herbert Lom

Votes: 115

9. Assassin for Hire (1951)

67 min | Crime, Mystery

Pretending to be rare stamp dealer, a man devotedly supports wife and musically talented younger brother as a professional hit-man.

Director: Michael McCarthy | Stars: Sydney Tafler, Ronald Howard, Katharine Blake, John Hewer

Votes: 38

10. At the Stroke of Nine (1957)

71 min | Crime, Drama

A prominent journalist is kidnapped by a lunatic who threatens to kill her unless she writes flattering articles about him.

Director: Lance Comfort | Stars: Patricia Dainton, Stephen Murray, Patrick Barr, Dermot Walsh

Votes: 8

11. Game of Danger (1954)

88 min | Drama

When a local bully is found shot to death, the police suspect a young man who had recently been seen arguing with him. When thy discover that they had been arguing over the affections of a ... See full summary »

Director: Lance Comfort | Stars: Jack Warner, Derek Farr, Veronica Hurst, Michael Medwin

Votes: 109

12. Twist of Fate (1954)

Approved | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Johnny Victor, an actress living with Louis Galt on the Riveria, becomes involved with Pierre Clemont and learns he is a dangerous criminal.

Director: David Miller | Stars: Ginger Rogers, Herbert Lom, Stanley Baker, Jacques Bergerac

Votes: 236

13. Bedelia (1946)

Approved | 83 min | Drama, Romance

Bedelia, a newly remarried beautiful widow, is on honeymoon in Monte Carlo. A painter approaches her inquiring about her past. When she and her husband go back to England the artist will soon be there. Danger, crime and truth will follow.

Director: Lance Comfort | Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Ian Hunter, Barry K. Barnes, Anne Crawford

Votes: 145

14. Shadow of Fear (1955)

76 min | Mystery

A woman travels to England to attend her parents' funeral. She is told by officials that they died of natural causes together, but she doesn't buy it. She comes to suspect that the nurse ... See full summary »

Director: Albert S. Rogell | Stars: Mona Freeman, Jean Kent, Maxwell Reed, Hugh Miller

Votes: 54

15. Web of Evidence (1959)

Approved | 90 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

A British-American returns to Britain after 20 years to discover that his father has been jailed since WW2 for a murder that took place in murky circumstances.

Director: Jack Cardiff | Stars: Van Johnson, Vera Miles, Emlyn Williams, Bernard Lee

Votes: 153

16. The Big Chance (1957)

59 min | Drama

A clerk sees his big chance to escape a humdrum existence, but his resolve is tested as many unexpected obstacles arise.

Director: Peter Graham Scott | Stars: Adrienne Corri, William Russell, Ian Colin, Penelope Bartley

Votes: 65

17. Captain Blackjack (1950)

90 min | Adventure

Bold and attractive, Mike Alexander is an American who smuggles drugs across the Spanish Mediterranean. Ingrid Dekker is in love with him while the double-crossing Emily Birk tries to ... See full summary »

Directors: Julien Duvivier, José Antonio Nieves Conde | Stars: George Sanders, Herbert Marshall, Patricia Roc, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 80

18. Black Memory (1947)

73 min | Crime, Drama

Danny Cruff returns home years after his father was wrongly accused and hanged for murder. But he can't escape his past.

Director: Oswald Mitchell | Stars: Michael Medwin, Frank Hawkins, Winifred Melville, Moyra O'Connell

Votes: 51

19. Black 13 (1953)

Approved | 75 min | Crime, Drama

20th Century-Fox gets the blame for distributing this in the USA but they were not the production company in any manner. Peter Reynolds is the screwed-up son of a college professor who ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Hughes | Stars: Peter Reynolds, Rona Anderson, Patrick Barr, Lana Morris

Votes: 6

20. The Black Widow (1951)

62 min | Crime, Drama

Mark Sherwin ( Robert Ayres) is the victim of a brutal beating and car theft. The thief dies in a crash; Mark suffers from amnesia, and recuperates on a horse-training property. Discovering... See full summary »

Director: Vernon Sewell | Stars: Christine Norden, Robert Ayres, Jennifer Jayne, Anthony Forwood

Votes: 57

21. Blackmailed (1951)

Approved | 73 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Mrs. Christopher (Fay Compton), a kindly volunteer worker at a large hospital, does a favor for a patient by delivering a sum of money to Mr. Sine (James Robertson Justice). When she ... See full summary »

Director: Marc Allégret | Stars: Mai Zetterling, Dirk Bogarde, Fay Compton, Robert Flemyng

Votes: 20

22. Blackout (1950)

Not Rated | 73 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A man suffering from temporary blindness accidentally walks into a house where a murder has just occurred. The killers, realizing he's blind, decide not to kill him but just knock him out ... See full summary »

Director: Robert S. Baker | Stars: Maxwell Reed, Dinah Sheridan, Patric Doonan, Kynaston Reeves

Votes: 175

23. Man in the Dark (1964)

Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama

When the wife of a blind composer discovers that her husband will cut her out of his estate, if he discovers that she is having an affair with a young artist, she and her lover plan to commit the perfect murder.

Director: Lance Comfort | Stars: William Sylvester, Barbara Shelley, Elizabeth Shepherd, Alexander Davion

Votes: 91

24. Chance Meeting (1959)

95 min | Mystery, Thriller, Crime

In 1950s London, Dutch painter Jan-Van Rooyer has an affair with a rich married Frenchwoman who is murdered, causing Van Rooyer to become prime-suspect for the Scotland Yard.

Director: Joseph Losey | Stars: Hardy Krüger, Stanley Baker, Micheline Presle, John Van Eyssen

Votes: 585

25. The Blue Lamp (1950)

Approved | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

The daily routine of two London Policemen is interrupted by a killer.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Jack Warner, Dirk Bogarde, Jimmy Hanley, Robert Flemyng

Votes: 1,414

26. Bond of Fear (1956)

66 min | Drama, Crime

An escaped killer hides out by forcing a travelling family to take him with them.

Director: Henry Cass | Stars: Dermot Walsh, Jane Barrett, John Colicos, Marilyn Baker

Votes: 96

27. The Brain (1962)

83 min | Crime, Horror, Drama

After the mysterious crash of a millionaire's private airplane, three scientists secretly harvest the dying man's brain and keep it alive in a laboratory in order to communicate with it through telepathy.

Director: Freddie Francis | Stars: Anne Heywood, Peter van Eyck, Cecil Parker, Bernard Lee

Votes: 227

28. The Brain Machine (1955)

Approved | 84 min | Crime, Thriller

A doctor is taken hostage by a drug smuggler whom she has diagnosed as psychotic. Her estranged husband has to find her before the smuggling gang find him and kill them both.

Director: Ken Hughes | Stars: Patrick Barr, Elizabeth Allan, Maxwell Reed, Vanda Godsell

Votes: 116

29. The Great Armored Car Swindle (1961)

59 min | Crime, Drama

The nephew of a printer gets involved with foreign spies intent on making counterfeit money.

Director: Lance Comfort | Stars: Peter Reynolds, Dermot Walsh, Joanna Dunham, Lisa Gastoni

Votes: 60

30. Brighton Rock (1948)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama

Pinkie Brown is a small-town hoodlum whose gang runs a protection racket based at Brighton race course. When Pinkie murders a journalist called Fred Hale whom he believes is responsible for... See full summary »

Director: John Boulting | Stars: Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, William Hartnell, Harcourt Williams

Votes: 4,794 | Gross: $0.22M


31. The Broken Horseshoe (1953)

79 min | Crime

A hit and run victim is operated on by Dr. Fenton (Robert Beatty) the victim is later murdered and the doctor is involved

Director: Martyn C. Webster | Stars: Robert Beatty, Elizabeth Sellars, Peter Coke, Hugh Kelly

Votes: 69

32. The Brothers (1947)

Approved | 98 min | Drama

The MacFarishes and the Macraes are lifelong enemies living on a remote island in the Western Isles of Scotland. Mary Lawson is a Scottish orphan brought up in a convent who arrives on the ... See full summary »

Director: David MacDonald | Stars: Patricia Roc, Will Fyffe, Maxwell Reed, Finlay Currie

Votes: 98

33. Cage of Gold (1950)

Approved | 83 min | Crime, Drama

In post-WW2 Britain, a young woman marries an old flame but after he disappears, and is later declared dead, she re-marries, only to be blackmailed by the supposedly-dead first husband who suddenly re-appears in her life, in need of money.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Jean Simmons, David Farrar, James Donald, Madeleine Lebeau

Votes: 212

34. Calculated Risk (1963)

Not Rated | 72 min | Crime, Drama

Crooks plan a bank heist by digging through a basement of a neighbouring house.

Director: Norman Harrison | Stars: William Lucas, John Rutland, Dilys Watling, Shay Gorman

Votes: 68

35. Candidate for Murder (1962)

60 min | Crime, Drama

The professional killer Kersten arrives in England and is hired by Donald Edwards to murder his wife Helene. But Helene's lover Robert Vaughan discovers the plot and he trails Kersten and Edwards to a country cottage.

Director: David Villiers | Stars: Michael Gough, Erika Remberg, Hans von Borsody, John Justin

Votes: 46

36. Carnival (1946)

Approved | 93 min | Drama, Romance

A dancer attempts to escape from the narrow conventions of society and from the fate foretold for her at her birth.

Director: Stanley Haynes | Stars: Sally Gray, Michael Wilding, Stanley Holloway, Bernard Miles

Votes: 81

37. The Case of Charles Peace (1949)

88 min | Crime, Drama

Businessman Charles Peace leads a double life--by day he's a respected local businessman, but by night he's a professional thief who lets nothing, not even murder, stop him from getting what he wants.

Director: Norman Lee | Stars: Michael Martin Harvey, Chili Bouchier, Valentine Dyall, Bruce Belfrage

Votes: 129

38. Cash on Demand (1962)

Not Rated | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A charming but ruthless criminal holds the family of a bank manager hostage as part of a cold-blooded plan to steal 97,000 pounds.

Director: Quentin Lawrence | Stars: Peter Cushing, André Morell, Richard Vernon, Norman Bird

Votes: 1,112

39. Cast a Dark Shadow (1955)

Approved | 82 min | Thriller

Clever fortune-hunter Edward Bare (Sir Dirk Bogarde), with a penchant for murder, does in his elderly, supposedly rich, wife, and manages to get away with it. After an investigation results... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Lockwood, Kay Walsh, Kathleen Harrison

Votes: 1,144

40. The Desperate Men (1958)

79 min | Crime, Drama

A GI deserter frames a girl for killing a blackmailer, and holds her captive while seeking gems.

Director: Paul Rotha | Stars: Lee Patterson, Ann Sears, Hilton Edwards, Victor Maddern

Votes: 60

41. Chain of Events (1958)

62 min | Drama

When a clerk tries to dodge paying a bus fare, it sparks all sorts of complications.

Director: Gerald Thomas | Stars: Dermot Walsh, Susan Shaw, Jack Watling, Kenneth Griffith

Votes: 63

42. It Takes a Thief (1960)

Approved | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A gang leader dumps her criminal boyfriend when he is convicted of robbery, but he recovers the stolen loot once he's released. In retaliation, the gang kidnaps his son and demands the money as ransom.

Director: John Gilling | Stars: Jayne Mansfield, Anthony Quayle, Carl Möhner, Peter Reynolds

Votes: 206

43. Change Partners (1965)

63 min | Drama

An adulterous couple turn to murder, only to discover that a petty crook and blackmailer has already had his eye upon them.

Director: Robert Lynn | Stars: Zena Walker, Kenneth Cope, Basil Henson, Anthony Dawson

Votes: 31

44. Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958)

Approved | 87 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

At Kimberley Prescott's villa, a stranger shows-up and claims he is her brother who supposedly died the previous year in a car accident.

Director: Michael Anderson | Stars: Richard Todd, Anne Baxter, Herbert Lom, Alexander Knox

Votes: 1,021

45. Circle of Deception (1960)

Approved | 100 min | Drama, Romance, War

Unbeknownst to him, a soldier is sent on a doomed mission because of the high likelihood of him divulging secrets if captured and tortured.

Director: Jack Lee | Stars: Suzy Parker, Bradford Dillman, Harry Andrews, Robert Stephens

Votes: 230

46. Escape by Night (1964)

75 min | Crime, Drama

A bus carrying prisoners on their way to jail, is hijacked by a gang, who want to free one of the passengers. The rest of the prisoners are locked in a petrol soaked barn, and warned not to... See full summary »

Director: Montgomery Tully | Stars: Terence Longdon, Jennifer Jayne, Harry Fowler, Peter Sallis

Votes: 140

47. Cloudburst (1951)

Approved | 83 min | Mystery

A Canadian World War II veteran working for the British Foreign Office scours England for the killer who murdered his wife.

Director: Francis Searle | Stars: Robert Preston, Elizabeth Sellars, Colin Tapley, Sheila Burrell

Votes: 260

48. The Clouded Yellow (1950)

Approved | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery